A video taken by Ranger Sam on the 29th of October 2015 of a 4 meter African Rock python crossing the road in front of the Safari cruiser. It is the largest snake found in Africa and one of the six largest found in the world and can reach up to 6 meters in length. It is a very large non venomous snake and widely feared throughout Africa although it rarely kills humans.
Like all pythons, the African rock python kills its prey by constriction. After gripping the prey, the snake coils around it, tightening its coils every time the victim breathes out. Death is thought to be caused by cardiac arrest rather than by asphyxiation or crushing. The African rock python feeds on a variety of large rodents, monkeys, warthog, antelopes, fruit bats, monitor lizards, and on rats, poultry, dogs and goats in suburban areas.
Some interesting facts regarding python predation on humans:
- In 1979 in Waterberg District, Limpopo Province, South Africa, a 4.5 m African rock python killed a 13-year-old boy. The victim died due to suffocation and internal injuries, and his body was released after fighting with an adult man some 20 minutes after the attack began. The victim’s head was covered in saliva, and scientists thought “it could have easily succeeded in swallowing” the 1.3 m, 45 kg boy if not interrupted.
- In 1999 in Centralia, Illinois, USA, a 3-year-old boy was suffocated during the night by an escaped 2.3 m pet African rock python. Bite marks around the boy’s neck and ears may have resulted from an attempt to swallow him.
- In 2002 near Durban, South Africa, a ten-year-old boy was reportedly swallowed by an African rock python over a three-hour period, as seven other children stayed hidden in a mango tree. The animal was not captured and the story could not be verified, but detailed descriptions of markings and technique were credible to a local expert.
- In 2009 in Sabaki Village, Malindi District, Kenya, a male farm manager was attacked after stepping on an unspecified 4.0 m python. After an hour struggle, he was dragged up a tree, but was rescued by police and villagers after he was able to call for help on his mobile phone. The snake was captured by police, but had disappeared by the next day.
- In 2013 in Campbellton, New Brunswick, Canada, four- and six-year-old brothers were reportedly killed by an approximately 4.3–4.9 m, 45 kg pet African python. The snake appeared to have escaped from its enclosure, and a preliminary autopsy found the boys died of asphyxiation. However, the RCMP’s investigation is ongoing, and circumstances of the incident prompted skepticism from experts not involved in the case.